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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book reads like a thriller!
An excellent book about the people behind many killer games like Commander Keen, Castle of Wolfenstein and Doom. The book starts from the very beginning, from the time before the first shareware hit games. In addition to being excellent history book about id software, it also shows the potential problems and pitfals facing each game developer, especially the problem of...
Published on 2 Aug 2003 by Juha Palomaki

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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A tale of gaming gold-rush ambition
I like books about people and I like books about computers and I like computer games. This has to be the perfect book for me, doesn't it?

First of all, I've lived through the computer evolution described in the book, saw at least some of the games mentioned in the book, either at the time they were released, or soon after and at that time I played a lot of...
Published on 21 Jun 2011 by pauland


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book reads like a thriller!, 2 Aug 2003
By 
Juha Palomaki (Helsinki, Finland) - See all my reviews
An excellent book about the people behind many killer games like Commander Keen, Castle of Wolfenstein and Doom. The book starts from the very beginning, from the time before the first shareware hit games. In addition to being excellent history book about id software, it also shows the potential problems and pitfals facing each game developer, especially the problem of too big egos and different visions among to developers.
And what's best.. It's the author's style. He certainly knows how to write a good book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most influential book I ever read, 2 Sep 2005
By 
Marcos Papadakis (Mires, Heraklio Greece) - See all my reviews
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If you are a developer, a programmer, someone who likes using his computer for creating games, or even 'casual' applications, you MUST read this book. It will make you want to code night and day. I have read it 4 times and still I get the same feeling when I go through it. John Carmack is a genius.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yep, great read, 14 Feb 2005
I spent sooooo many hours, like soooo many other people, playing these games. The story of the Two Johns has been touched upon in the computer press but the story more than bears telling in a full length book. I picked it up just to read about what the background was to these incredible games that dominated weeks / months of my adult, slacker life, and sure enough the account given of how Wolfenstein and onwards were written was at turns exhilerating and bittersweet. I then started moving back through the book to the earliest days of the two johns and it held my attention throughout. Great story, great characters, and the author has a great eye for his subjects and the allure of the story of how geeks became rockstars. Gaming isnt going to disappear, and Carmack and Romero are like two Neil Armstrongs in terms of their acheivements. THis is a good history book in the making if nothing else, and it is surprising how much you end up feeling for both Carmack and Romero, two lost boys in a gold mine. Carmack in particular is an odd and mysterious character. My rating? Five stars. mmmm.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Page turner, 23 July 2011
By 
Mr. A. Vance (Manchester, England.) - See all my reviews
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I'm a very sporadic reader but when a book grabs me I find myself staying up way past bed time (11 on a work day ;) ) to continue reading...this book is one of those. Anyone who has an interest in the games industry I'm sure will find this book thrilling, even those who were born in the 90s will find it an intriguing history lesson.

Just a side note, several times I stopped reading to go watch footage of the game they were talking about on youtube (I obviously know quake, doom and wolfenstein, but some of their earlier games I have never come across as I was a NES/SNES guy). I imagine this book would benefit massively from an interactive ebook with videos/demos of the games slipped in at appropriate points of the book. Only tablets are capable of that right now but it would be really cool to see books include links or content of extracurricular interest.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for id/doom/quake geeks like me, 15 Jun 2004
By 
M. Wilcox "wilfscorner.co.uk" (Cheshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This book cleverly paints an attractive picture of the early days of id's development from pre-wolfenstein 3D titles up to the announcement of DOOM3.
It focuses largely on the Carmack/Romero relationshop but also touches on the impact that their games had on popular culture at the time. Including the headache that they gave the government due to the rising tension surrounding violence in games.
If you are in anyway interested in creating games but have been long put off by the stale state of the industry, then you'll find this a rewarding and exciting read in many respects.
Two guys that not only changed the world of gaming forever but stuck to their guns and fought tooth and nail throughout to remain independent.
I couldn't help but feel that Carmack emerged the victor in any battle that was staged, but Romero's child-like "rock stardom" is as endearing as Carmack's geekiness.
The only down side for me was the lack of detail on Doom's early development for which I know there is plenty to tell.
But that's game specific and this book concentrates on the personalities that contributed to their development.
A great read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply marvellous!, 24 Nov 2003
I bought this book as a way of learning the story behind the development of a range of my most favourite games. When the likes of Doom and Quake were released, I wasn't too bothered about the people behind them. 10 years on, I had a great curiosity to find out what drove Carmack, Romero et al to produce their programmatic excellence.
Written in a very appealing and non-technical way, the book is as much a thriller as it is a record of events. My only slight gripe with the book is the fact that it glosses over the technical side of things to favour the "people" side of the story. This is by no means a fatal flaw, since the book is fantastic, it just would have been nice to have had a little more technical details to go on.
According to the writers notes, the book took 6 years to write, which included endless interviews and contact with all involved.
Simply marvellous!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing and so clear!, 23 Nov 2003
By 
Tariq (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I have searched online, through a vast pool of servers hosting
games such as Counter-Strike and Soldier Of Fortune 2, and not a
single person I've queried has told me who John Carmack and John
Romero are. It is about time a book gave the newer generation
a bit of history on how it all started.
As a hobby, I develop games myself and reading this book was
possibly the most exciting confidence building experience ever.
The book complements the two Johns extremely well, and while
it may be obvious that not everything would have been as
described, it certainly shows how they went from simple guys
who worshiped those big names in the game industry, guys
with a passion and a dream, to those who are idles for future
game designers. There are even times when you can relate to
them in one way or another, taking you deep within an imaginary
and vivid world.
The book is extremely well paced and the chapters are nice and
short making it an interesting read that will definitely give
you laughs and also raise your eye brows as you read the book.
There are games I have played as a child like Commander Keen,
Rescue Rover and Spear Of Destiny and it was an amazing shock
to realise those games that remained on my favorites list
were produced by the same guys (obviously working for different
companies).
All in all if you like games or are a games developer, this
book is the confidence boost you always wanted. Heading over
to the ID Software website shows some familiar names still
in the team!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Go and have a read, you won't regret it!, 4 Nov 2013
Last weekend I devoured Masters of Doom , a book by David Kushner. The book, subtitled "How two guys created an empire and transformed pop culture", delivers bigtime. Even though the story about game developers pur-sang John Carmarck and John Romero is pretty well known to many avid gamers, the author still is able to tell a gripping story. Basically we follow the lives of "the two Johns" and how they created some of the most important games in recent gaming history: Commander Keen, Wolfenstein, Doom and Quake.

What makes this book so good is the very fast pacing and the focus on the people behind the game. From the start it's very clear that the two Johns are very , very different people. However, that didn't stop them from making some of the best games ever, together. Equally important is that the scope is wide enough and not only focussed on mr Carmack and mr. Romero. Instead, all the `side-characters' are given enough time, and credit, in the book to show that in the end the id software games were the result of great teamwork.

What I especially liked from the book is the fact that the author is able to keep a certain level of serenity when talking about how the great cooporation between the two johns came to a halt...and changed in what some might call a mud-throwing fest. Where other authors might delve deeply in these sad parts in their lives and focus on the not-so relevant cursing and (verbal) fights, David Kushners still is able to show the good side of it all making his text all the more important.

If there's one, small, drawback of this book it's the lack of technical details. Ofcourse, this was never the focus, but still, certain aspects could've been fleshed out a bit more to satiate my inner developer (for example why Romero cringed when discovering how the Quake 2 engine was written which would results in many months of rewriting Daikatana to use this new engine).

When reading the book I continuously felt pangs of jealousy , thinking how great it must've been to be part of id software while they were making pc history. If there's one conclusion to be made from this book it's that indie developers should never give up and even nowadays, with big publisher and software companies everywhere, there's still room for a handful of focused and able game developers.
I can't recommend this book enough.

Go and have a read, you won't regret it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of gaming histories best stories expertly told, 20 Aug 2013
By 
Ryan S. Dodd "R S D" (UK) - See all my reviews
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David Kushner not only manages to write this book with incredible accuracy (having had a long interview with John Romero himself for instance)but also manages to write this book as if it where an unfolding story rather than a simple account of video game history. Managing accuracy with an interesting and appealing writing style that is entertaining, witty and unique is incredibly accomplished. I have read no other book on gaming history that has both of these strengths. Many video game history books lean toward the academic, which can be a chore to read, or to the editorial.
Kushner somehow manages to avoid being too academic and too editorial in this book, and as such it is a book I can recommend to anyone interested in Commander Keen, Wolfesntein 3d, Doom, Quake and the respective careers at those who worked at id software etc.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely readable, Doom is an important milestone in gaming history, 25 July 2013
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This satisfies a desire to revel in the technical joy that was Doom, as well as discovering the internal friction and decisions that occurred throughout the development. The difference between Carmack and Romero could not be more pronounced - and it makes the story of Doom all the more interesting for it. If you like Doom, and you have an interest in gaming history, I think this a great book for you.
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